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Goal of mobile Fig Tree Studio programs is to make art accessible

Russell and Erika Rittling Uebel are starting small in their goal to inspire
artists to find their creative cores, as the trained artists prepare to open
their own Fig Tree Studio by summer of next year. In the meantime, they have
been serving as mobile art departments in the Lower Eastern Shore area.

Uebel said
the studio has been operating at the Stages Early childhood Learning Center in
Berlin for the past six weeks. She said they were passionate about finding ways
to make art accessible. She has considered reaching out to hold classes in day
care centers as an important way to help small children develop a natural feel
for the art forms they might want to create, and to use their creations to help
build confidence.

Uebel said
when she and Russell first introduced themselves at the daycare center the
children seemed a bit apprehensive. After six weeks of classes, projects and
exhibits, she said now “they seemed excited to see us.” A mini-gallery has
developed, displaying the artistic creations of the one- and two-year-olds for
their parents to see as they come and go when picking up and dropping off at
the facility, she said.

“One little
girl who would not pick up a crayon,” when they first started, Uebel recounted,
“is now painting up a storm.” Projects, materials and themes change on a weekly
basis, allowing the children to sample a variety of art forms and styles. She
said the daycare art class assignment, “has really been a great experience.”

The studio
will also travel to Little Lambs Daycare in Ocean Pines and the Training
Station Preschool in Ocean City, Uebel said.

helping to build a foundation for art appreciation in toddlers in October, the
studio will head to the Worcester County Arts Council, at 6 Jefferson St. off
Main Street in Berlin, to conduct classes, inspired by abstract expression
artists, for older youths in November.

From Nov.
5-6, between 4–5 p.m., Russell and Uebel will offer Jackson Pollock-style
acrylic splatter painting classes for artists from 5–9 years-old. The watercolor
abstract painting style of Mark Rothko will be the inspiration for classes on
Nov. 12 and 13, from 4–5 p.m., for 9–14 year-old art students. Clyfford Still’s
acrylic abstract painting style will serve as the basis for classes on Nov. 19
and 20, from 3:30–4:30 p.m. for art students, age 14–17 years old. The costs
for the classes are $20 and supplies are included.

said part of the public outreach the studio is also involved in was helping the
Town of Berlin recruit high school artists for the Berlin Parks commission’s
mural project in Stephen Decatur Park. She said they were trying to spread the
word to encourage artistic teens to participate in what she called a rare

To register
for a class hosted by the Worcester County Arts Council, visit the website or call 410-641-0809.

information on Fig Tree Studio is available on Facebook or by calling